Cockatiel Sleeping on Bottom of Cage: What This Strange Behavior Means

Cockatiels may be very popular pet birds, but many owners find that their behaviors are actually quite mysterious.

After all, humans like to sleep laying down on a comfy mattress, not balanced on a skinny perch up in the air!

So at first if you see your cockatiel start sleeping on the bottom of the cage, you may not think much of it. You might even assume your bird is just doing it to be more comfortable.

Unfortunately, this is seldom the reason why your cockatiel starts sleeping on the cage floor. In this article, you will learn about all the reasons cockatiels may sleep on the bottom of the cage and what to do if you see this behavior.

Cockatiel Sleeping on Bottom of Cage

A cockatiel sleeping on the bottom of the cage is quite likely to be ill or injured. This is especially true if the bird is an adult.

In this article, we will discuss why a cockatiel might start sleeping on the bottom of the cage and what to do about it.

Learn About Cockatiel Illness Warning Signs

In this YouTube video, you can learn from an experienced avian veterinarian about why you might see a cockatiel sleeping on the bottom of the cage.

As the veterinarian points out, even very sick cockatiels will try to hide the signs of illness or weakness. However, whenever you see an adult cockatiel sleeping on the bottom of its cage, this is a clear sign that something is not right.

Hatchling or Juvenile Cockatiel Sleeping on Bottom of Cage

As this popular Parrot Forum for owners explains, it is quite common to see hatchling or juvenile cockatiels sleeping on the cage floor.

The reason is those very young cockatiels are awkward and uncoordinated – just like young humans!

Very young birds are still trying to figure out what their wings and legs and tails and all their different moving parts are supposed to be used for.

They may not even have all their feathers yet and are used to huddling with their siblings and parents to stay warm at night.

Adult Cockatiel Sleeping on Bottom of Cage

It is always possible that a rare adult cockatiel may get into the habit of sleeping on the cage floor during the juvenile life stage and simply continue that behavior in adulthood.

As this Avian Avenue owner forum highlights, there are some birds that prefer to sleep this way. However, overall this is a rare situation indeed and certainly is not the focus of this article.

Cockatiels in a wild setting are prey species with many potential predators. At night, they roost in family groups high up in the trees to try to avoid predation after dark.

So when you see an adult cockatiel pet who suddenly transitions from sleeping on an elevated perch or platform to sleeping on the cage bottom, this should send up red flags that you need to investigate further.

Read on to find out exactly what to do if your cockatiel starts sleeping on the bottom of its cage.

Warning Signs of a Sick Adult Cockatiel

As Cockatiel Cottage points out, there really is no way that your bird can directly tell you when they are sick, injured, or weak and need veterinary care.

So you have to start learning about the other ways your cockatiel might signal that there is something wrong.

Experienced cockatiel owners state that these tend to be the most common warning signs that all is not well with your pet bird.

  • Low energy.
  • Disinterest in favorite activities or foods.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Drinking more or less than usual.
  • Sleeping more than usual.
  • Puffed-up feathers.
  • Sleeping on both feet (on the perch or at the bottom of the cage).
  • Sleeping at the bottom of the cage (instead of on a perch).
  • Change in droppings.
  • No droppings (or very watery droppings when they come).
  • Signs of vomiting or regurgitation.
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination.
  • Audible breathing changes.
  • Watery eyes, nasal discharge, or crust.

Any of these signs are like getting an urgent distress call from your cockatiel. You should not wait – seek immediate veterinary attention from the nearest urgent care veterinary clinic that treats avians.

Reasons Why Cockatiel Might Sleep on Bottom of Cage

Are there any reasons why your cockatiel might choose to sleep on the bottom of the cage that is not related to injury or illness?

The answer is yes. However, it is still vitally important to take your cockatiel to the avian veterinarian right away just to be sure there isn’t an injury or illness.

As a prey species in the wild, cockatiels will strive to hide illness or injury to avoid predation. You really need to make sure there is nothing wrong with your bird or it could be too late.

If your avian veterinarian gives your cockatiel a clean bill of health, then it could be that your cockatiel is choosing to sleep on the cage bottom for one of these reasons.

No perches due to tonight frights

As Talk Cockatiels Forum explains, some cockatiel owners actually designate a special sleeping cage for their birds that do not contain perches.

Why would any cockatiel owner want their cockatiel to sleep in a cage with no perches?

Cockatiels can be particularly prone to night frights, which occur when they wake suddenly and begin to violently thrash around in their cage. Often severe injury and bleeding occur and sometimes night frights are fatal.

Some cockatiel owners believe removing perches at night can reduce the likelihood and incidence of night frights.

If your cockatiel previously slept this way due to the decision of the previous owner, you might see the behavior continue even if you offer perches.

The perches are not comfortable for your cockatiel

Cockatiels need to have a variety of perches to help strengthen and condition the feet muscles and keep the nails filed. The perches also need to be sized correctly for a smaller parrot species like the cockatiel.

But many first-time cockatiel owners do not know this and may not provide comfortable perches for their pet bird.

If your cockatiel is unable to get comfortable on its perches or the perches actively cause foot pain, your bird may opt to sleep on the cage floor instead.

Your cockatiel just likes sleeping on the cage floor

For any number of reasons, your cockatiel may simply decide they prefer to sleep on the floor of their cage.

This can especially be the case for an older senior bird or a bird with some mobility issues who tire more easily.

However, if your avian veterinarian says that all is well health-wise and your cockatiel still chooses to sleep on the floor, consider making some modifications to make the cage floor more comfortable for your bird.

When In Doubt Always Ask Your Avian Veterinarian For Help

There is a lot that can go wrong in a small, fragile companion parrot species like the cockatiel and if you miss the initial warning signs it might be too late.

For this reason, if you ever see your cockatiel start sleeping on the floor of their cage, be sure to call your avian veterinarian right away for a consultation. Taking swift action could save your cockatiel’s life!

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